India and New Zealand face off in the first semi-final of the 2019 World Cup – and it is a mouth-watering match-up long in the making.
The two sides’ group stage clash at Trent Bridge fell foul of the weather last month, so the wait for a first World Cup meeting between the two since 2003 went on.
But there will be plenty on the line, not least a spot in the World Cup final, when the two sides do finally lock horns on Tuesday at Old Trafford.
A formidable Indian top-order, led by tournament top-scorer Rohit Sharma, will be taking fresh guard in its quest for two good days but a strong New Zealand pace attack will be ready and waiting to knock at the corridor of uncertainty, like they did during the warm up game.
It has been a campaign in which Virat Kohli’s men have been successfully able to hide their chinks even without a suitable ‘Plan B’ but it now boils down to winning knockout matches.
Rohit (647), KL Rahul (360) and Virat Kohli (442) with a cumulative contribution of 1347 runs will meet their match in Ferguson (17 wickets), Boult (15 wickets) and Matt Henry (10 wickets), who have shared 42 wickets between them.
Not to forget that all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (11 wickets) and Colin de Grandhomme (5 wickets) take the seamers’ tally to 58 wickets. The midde-order hasn’t yet faced a ‘30 for 3 day’ in the competition and Boult’s first spell under a cloudy Manchester sky could unsettle the best in the business.
New Zealand’s ‘achilles heel’ has been their batting as none from their top-order, save Williamson (481 runs), have been able to stamp their authority. Bumrah didn’t play the last bilateral series in New Zealand and he could prove to be more than a handful for the out-of-form Martin Guptill (166) and Coin Munro (125). Kiwis’ poor batting is reflected from the fact that save Williamson, the only other top-order player to have crossed an aggregate of 250 runs is Ross Taylor (261).
Read here: Questions facing Virat Kohli as India seek a perfect XI
|Matches played||India won||New Zealand won|
|Overall||106 (N/R: 5, Tied: 1)||55||45|
|ICC events (World Cup and Champions Trophy)||8||3||5|
India-NZ at ICC events (ODI)
|1975 WC||NZ won||4 wickets||India, bat 1st||Manchester|
|1979 WC||NZ won||8 wickets||NZ, bowl 1st||Leeds|
|1987 WC||India won||16 runs||NZ, bowl 1st||Bengaluru|
|1987 WC||India won||9 wickets||NZ, bat 1st||Nagpur|
|1992 WC||NZ won||4 wickets||NZ, bowl 1st||Dunedin|
|1999 WC||NZ won||5 wickets||India, bat 1st||Nottingham|
|2000 ICC Knockout||NZ won||4 wickets||NZ, bowl 1st||Nairobi (Gym)|
|2003 WC||India won||7 wickets||India, bowl 1st||Centurion|
The two sides had not met in ODI cricket since 2017 until a five-match series at the start of this year Down Under.
And if those games are anything to go by, it is India who hold the edge in the head-to-heads.
They won that series 4-1, including playing the last two games without a rested Virat Kohli as Rohit Sharma took over captaincy duties temporarily.
Mohammed Shami, so impressive in his efforts during this World Cup, was the man of the series in New Zealand.
With Jasprit Bumrah – like Kohli – rested for the series, Shami took over the senior seamer role and was a key cog in the series win.
Kulpdeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal both enjoyed success in that series as well, so it remains to be seen if that will influence selection decisions for the semi-final.
The Black Caps struggled for runs in that series, not once did they pass 300 and the same problems have followed them to the World Cup where they are also waiting to pass that figure.
Better World Cup record for Kiwis
Overall, India have won six of the last seven ODIs the two sides have played but a closer inspection of their World Cup meetings makes for prettier reading for New Zealand.
In seven World Cup meetings between these two sides, it is the Black Caps who have the better record. They have won four clashes to India’s three in matches dominated by the chasing side.
Six of the seven encounters have been won by the team batting second, but as we have seen in England this summer, that has not always been the best option.
And despite their seven previous encounters, 2019 will be the first time the two sides will meet in the semi-finals.
Tournament performance in numbers
- Seamers have dominated the World Cup and India have led the way in this regard. Led by Bumrah, their quicks have snaffled 51 wickets at 23.50, the best average of any team.
- India have lost only four wickets in the entire competition in the first 10 overs. The run-rate in that period is 4.6 which is below the tournament average but Indian wickets have also cost 93 runs on average.
- The Black Caps, meanwhile, struggle in the first 10 overs: losing 13 wickets in the Powerplay at just 23.38 each – the worst in the competition.
- Williamson has scored an impressive 481 runs – but this has formed 28.73% of New Zealand’s total haul, suggesting an unhealthy dependence.
- Between overs 11 and 40, Kiwi bowlers were the most economical of all, conceding just 4.74 runs per over, and had the best bowling average by far, taking wickets at 28.63 apiece.
- The fall of wicket scores for each wicket (and average score at the fall of each wicket) makes for very interesting reading:
|India||Fall of wicket 1||Fall of wicket 2||Fall of wicket 3||Fall of wicket 4||Fall of wicket 5|
|Average score at the fall of each wicket||86||157||208||265||301|
|New Zealand||Fall of wicket 1||Fall of wicket 2||Fall of wicket 3||Fall of wicket 4||Fall of wicket 5|
|Average score at the fall of each wicket||31||36||104||123||151|
(With PTI and ICC inputs)